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Time With God Heals Hearts — 34 Comments

  1. I was once told by a pastor that I read the Bible too much. I fould that when I did not spend adequate time in the Word of God, I made bad decisions that negatively impacted my life and the life of others. I would much rather spend too much time in the Word of God than live a life of anxiety and hopelessness.

  2. Dear Gerald,
    Thanks for this timely reminder. How true, "We think nothing of a relaxing evening in front of the TV for a couple of hours, while having spent only five minutes alone with God." When we are in a bad habit of ignoring time with God, it's truly time for a change.

  3. It is true that many spend time unwisely, and God is not given the time that He deserves. However it is one of Gods gifts that allow for our choices as we determine. Each one may have a different relationship with God that doesn't fit the mold that we have set as a standard. It is easy to criticize those that we view as in need of change except when it hits home. I am guilty perhaps more so than others and it is not something that I readily admit to. Our society will find ways to occupy every waking moment of our time. God is our refuge and strength a very present help in the time of trouble- (need)Ps 46:1. That to me is my only hope. If I depend on my efforts alone it's a lost cause.

    • I agree with you, Paul, and feel compelled to comment on "the mold that we have set as a standard."

      This issue has made a profound change in my Sabbath School teaching as I consider this issue to be the major one of all that we face. This "personal time with God" is the water that lifts all boats.

      The only thing I need be concerned about regarding fellow believers is to encourage them to connect to God; partake of divine nature; and for me to edify them as best as I can regarding this issue.

      There is no 'judgment' in this. Just support and cheer leading.

      Remember the famous quote from page 83 of Desire of Ages regarding the sacred hour we might spend each day contemplating the life of Christ? This issue is a life-changer! and each person is on their own path, and this is the path that matters most because it's the path that leads me to become a loving person with a changed heart. This reference to one hour a day should help clarify for each of us how much time each day might be most useful.

      I have much to say on this subject as it has been to me such a blessing, and this subject resonates in our community today.

  4. Gerald, what stood out to me in your post was your reference to "personal worship."

    The following questions are not just for you, but for all of us to consider:

    Is "personal worship" different from family worship - whether just husband and wife or including children? Can family worship take the place of "personal worship."

    Is Bible study the same as personal worship? If not, what's the difference?
    Is reading the Bible through in a year the same as personal worship?
    Is studying the Sabbath School lesson personal worship?

    You mention "study or pray or meditate on God's holy Word." Did you mean to suggest that any one of those constitutes "personal worship"? Or?

    • Yes, personal worship is quite different in that it's impossible to "meditate" in a group setting. Meditation, "God's way," is a process that takes time and attention free from distraction. That's why Jesus arose early in the morning and went out into the fresh air where He could talk aloud during personal prayer, where he could agonize, where he could cry on our behalf and for His own ministry and our souls.

      I believe that most of our prayers are insufficiently intense. As we spend more time in prayer barriers come down, and we fall in love with the Father and view Him in a different way. Personal prayer that reveals the deepest secrets of the heart is a very special thing.

      When 16 years of age, Ellen Harmon waited for her twin sister to fall asleep before she slipped out of bed, got onto her knees and prayed all night for her teenage friends in the Methodist church who were not responding to the 1844 message. This is the love and zeal that comes through personal worship.

      Your 3 questions regarding the constitution of worship opens the door to the role of the Holy Spirit that guides each person individually. I would not dare comment further as each person is on their own journey. Just spending sufficient time with God will result in the growth He has in store for each person.

      I'll end my reply with this quote which in my mind constitutes worship, "Those who have trained the mind to delight in spiritual exercises are the ones who can be translated and not be overwhelmed with the purity and transcendent glory of heaven." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, page 267

      • Hi Gerald, you mentioned Ellen spending all night praying for a group of friends, this puzzles me, was she saying the same thing over and over again. Naturally we don't know the specifics of this instance but we hear similar statements of people praying for one thing for extended periods of time. I can understand a person spending a long time praying when there are a variety of things to discuss. I mention this because it has puzzled me for a long time, I think it might also be affected by different temperament types, for instance my communication style is concrete (facts) while I know my daughter is idealist (theories). However I praise the LORD that He understands us all, he meets us where we are and draws us to where He is and He promises us that the Holy Spirit will change our poor thoughts & words into something worthy for the LORD to hear.

        • Shirley, I've also pondered this issue, and can only point out a couple of things for you to consider.

          First is the parable Jesus told of the widow and the judge in Luke 18. How the widow was persistent and poured her heart out to the judge. Like David of old, she spoke her mind, and was truthful about her feelings. It was her child, and she was "intense." I love that word "intense" because it is influencing me to be more intense about my time with God. It's causing me to fall in love with the Father, and it's helping me to arrange priorities because I learn what I care about most.

          Second is another quote from EGW: "Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch." Great Controversy, page 621

          This quote has helped me interpret more accurately, as did Jesus, Deut. 6:5 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart," placing greatest emphasis on the word "ALL."

          As we add intensity to our time with God the way will open for us to desire more of which we are speaking, and it's beautiful.

    • Inge, your questions are intriguing and engaging. At this point I am only starting to look deeply into the matter but to me it seems that the first order of business needs to be to define exactly what we mean by worship. My New King James Version has 197 places in it where the word worship is used and oddly enough the Ten Commandments is not one of those places.

      So far it seems to me that everyone is talking about worship but hasn't really defined it yet and because of that we may be talking past one another and have entirely different ideas about what it is.

      • Hi Tyler, is it really worship that we are talking about? Surely worship is acknowledging the LORD as our Supreme Ruler and surrendering our lives to Him.

        Are we not really talking about communicating and developing a relationship with the LORD which includes as a subset worship.
        Taking time to learn to know the LORD more deeply and sharing with Him our hearts, a one to one, love relationship.

  5. All I know is that I needed to hear that again. I'm very busy "working for others and for God" but my time alone with Him is suffering. Thanks, Gerald, it is time to meditate.

  6. Worship to me is giving God my time, my voice, my will, and all of my love and respect. Worship to me is trusting God and giving all of my alligiance to him. He is my everything. Spending time with Him each day is just a part of my relationship with Him. Allowing Him to speack to me through His word.

    • Thank you Regina for your answer, I think it is a good one. Since no one else wishes to respond I will now say how I define worship. To me worship is the act of establishing a very specific relationship between the worshiper and what is being worshipped. That relationship is more like the relationship between Lord and vassal where the worshipped governs the worshiper.

      I think Gerald Greene has built a very good case for spending quality time with God but I also think that I can rightly ask if that in and of itself is worship. A happily married couple can spend a lot of good quality time together and because they do they can have a very beneficial experience but is that worship?

      On another note Inge asks, "Is Bible study the same as personal worship?" I once knew a person that honestly told me that he knew everything there was to know about the book of Revelation. I held my peace because I knew what he was studying. He was looking at the book as prophetic history and in focusing solely on that one aspect he actually missed the God of the history he was studying and in turn I think he missed the main theme of the book. Besides, it is well known that archaeologists will carry a Bible with them as a source to guide them in their excavations in the Middle East. Most of them are also atheists which means there is no worship involved, only historical fact finding. So, the question remains, does Bible Study automatically translate into worship or for that matter does prayer?

      • Worship must have different forms because the early Adventists referred to family Bible reading, singing and prayer in the morning as "family worship." While at the same time Matt. 28:9 says "And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."

        In my post, I meant to reference personal worship in a general sense and give room for the Holy Spirit to guide each person as He sees fit.

        When dealing with an issue such as as this, where saints are spending too little time on this fundamental issue of time with God, it seems inappropriate to attempt specifying any further details.

        This, to me, is what's so special about the Christian era where the Holy Spirit orchestrates the body of Christ. We don't need to be micro-managed. The Lord works on our hearts and we grow together, each at his/her own pace.

        I can say no more without praising God for the Holy Spirit!

        • I agree with your comment Gerald Greene regarding allowing the Holy Spirit to guide each person individually in their worship experience. We just need to make an effort to spend more time with God, and he will guide and direct us according to where we are spiritually. I think our job as fellow believers is to plant the seed of encouragement to spend time with God; and let God be responsible for the outcome of our efforts.

  7. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:26-27 ESV)

    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee,
    but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. (Micah 6:8 KJV)

    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he. (John 4:23-26 ESV)

    To be a patient toiler in that which calls for self-denying labor, is a glorious work, that Heaven smiles upon. Faithful work is more acceptable to God than the most zealous and thought-to-be, holiest, worship. True worship consists in working together with Christ. Prayers, exhortation, and talk are cheap fruits, which are frequently tied on, but fruits that are manifested in good works, in caring for the needy, the fatherless, and widows, are genuine fruits, and grow naturally upon a good tree. {RH, August 16, 1881 par. 2}

    • James, you've said it well, and the last quote is one I use often when teaching (it's also found in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, page 24.) If our works are fruit they are good, but they must be the fruit of our relationship with God. And that can happen only if we spend time with Him beforehand.

      I know this sounds legalistic, but this is the only work required of us. Everything else is fruit.

  8. It was a great point made here with this subject. This was discussed with my wife this week, regarding our Family Worship at home. In a very busy society, and living in big cities, we have been occupied for several activities and obligations and we forget to look for Gods kingdon and his justice.
    And as he promissed all the other things we need for will be added in our lives! Amen

  9. thank you all i have learnt a lot. I believe that personal relationship should be you and God singing , reading the word and praying with no destractions.

  10. Gerald, I think the operative words in the last quote are "faithful work" that is the "fruit" of faith that shows itself as "work with Christ." As you say this comes as a result of time with Christ enabled by the Holy Spirit. However, I am wondering if there is a category of meditation, prayer, other "worship" activities that do not lead eventually to the fruit of the Spirit. I am trying to understand when "worship" becomes a form, that is not done in spirit and truth and therefore is not acceptable to God. I am thinking of the "worship" of the Israelites in Isa. chapter 1 that God would not accept.

    “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?
    Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
    Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
    cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
    though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:12-18 ESV)

    How do I resist the drift to the "form" worship without the power thereof?

    • James, it seems to me, and I'm no expert, that my routine can become a "form" of worship, but if I pour my heart out to God in prayer with intensity about all things that matter, and if I then have fruit of works, then there is no danger of falling into the trap of empty worship. When "every power is on the stretch," we are at the level of David and Jesus and things will be much different.

      Jesus said in John 4:23 "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. He followed that with "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." John 16:13

      The SDA belief system places a high value on the role of the Holy Spirit in this regard. While some value physical healing and signs from the Holy Spirit, we tend to value the personal guidance into truth and a closer relationship with the Father. As I learn more about the Father, because I now care more about Him as I spend more time with Him, then everything changes for me.

      As I look at my fellow believers I now care much less about their behavior regarding petty issues. I now care mostly about encouraging them to experience this blessing of "time with God." I don't talk to them about small behavioral changes to address this sin or that. No, that's not the issue at all for me. The healing comes only with "time with God." Then the Holy Spirit will do His work, and I love that. Praise God! 🙂

  11. I appreciate all the points made regarding "worship," following my question. Gerry actually hinted at the answer in his original post when he wrote, "'Each heart' must feel for itself and must interact with God individually."

    I note he refers to "interacting" with God. That sounds like a one-on-one relationship. Worship would involve the recognition of God's greatness and majesty in this relationship, which would result in a sense of awe and gratitude.

    I appreciate Tyler's point that studying the Bible does not necessarily equate with worship or even belief in God. So, to answer my own question, reading or even studying the Bible does not necessarily equate with worship.

    It is only as we specifically ask God to speak to us in our Bible reading or Bible study that it can truly be "personal time with God." We need to have our hearts open to what He wants to say to us, while we read and while we talk to Him in prayer.

    I find that reading a specified amount of of the Bible each day does not fill the bill. Rather, I need to stop and meditate when I sense God speaking to me in a text. That might be in the first text or read, or that might be one at the end of the third chapter I read.

    "Studying" for the purpose of correct belief is also not necessarily worship or even personal time with God. It may become that if we ask God to show us how He wants us to live or what He wants us to do.

    Some pointed out that personal worship is a very individual experience which may take a different form for each of us. For some it may include a time of prayerful song and praise. For some it might include artistic expression. Getting out of a rut would probably benefit many of us. But we all need to anchor our interaction with God in His Word, or we may be worshiping a god of our own imagination.

    However, we define our personal worship, the bottom line is that it takes one-on-one time with God, just like the nurturing of human relationships take one-on-one time. Thus family worship can contribute to our relationship, but it cannot take the place of personal time with God.

    I don't know about you, but while I know the wonderfully healing effect of individual time with God, the busyness of life too often gets in the way. Let us pray for each other to prioritize spending time in His presence.

    • To me I must humbly admit that this conversation is worship. To discuss the love of God at a deeper level opens an understanding of what He is asking us to do when He says he wants us to be "One with Him."

      To "partake of divine nature" is our calling, and it is a prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit in power, and so few people understand this.

      There is so much to say on this topic, and it's all sweetness with an aroma that uplifts the soul.

  12. Hi Gerald

    God bless you for such a wonderful message. It's a timely to me. If I cannot have quality time with my maker then who or what else.

    But in my country one can't have their own way to things of such. I am a Nutritionist, working with a private clinic. I spend more time working against my wish. But I have no choice than to remain there for a while because it is not easy to acquire a job, most especially being an Adventist. My job is killing me spiritually and physically because I can't even have time for my own self. But leaving for another job too may render you having choices of working on Sabbath day. I'm trying to mobilize some funds to open a small shop so I can be myself. Please remember me in prayers.

    God bless you all.

  13. Lotty - I will pray that the Father will give you strength. With strength you will be able to make time to be with Him. We can pray in unexpected places and times. Mrs. White wrote: "We must be much in communion with God. Prayer in secret, prayer while the hands are engaged in labor, prayer while walking by the way, prayer in the night season, the heart's desires ever ascending to God, --this is our only safety." Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Nov. 8, 1887

  14. Lotty, I will talk to God in prayer for you. God is with you at all times. He knows all about your situation and is working it all out for you. Don't let go of God's unchanging hand. Your miracle is on its way. God bless.

  15. Looks like all the ministers reaching out to Gerald. Thats alright. I do rember one of the ministers saying we are all ministers. Thats right too. Thank-you Gerald for this wounderful article.

  16. Actually reaching out to all with a good understanding of worship to our heavenly Father. I have found it all very up lifting, I will cherish rereading this in my intense prayer and devotions using my Bible apps and EGW apps to better compehend the many excerpts used here.

  17. Hi Shirley, coming to GOD for special reasons sometimes take special preparation. I've had situations where I had to ask GOD for favors, and not only mention the special favor I need of Him. At those times my prayer to Him took on a few tones - thanksgiving, and praise, repentance, asking for sins' forgiveness, and so on. During that season of time I read specific portions of the Bible and prayed separately for each issue.

    I can attest to you that even though I never took a whole night. I prayed like that over several days because I am a very impatient person with a bit I think, of Attention Deficit Disorder. But on every occasion GOD has answered my prayer in the positive. The answer may have taken a week or so at times, but it always came. I honestly wish that I did more of that which I know I should but neglect to do.

    • Albert James - thank you for your timely testimony that reminds me of Joel 2:12 "Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning." This describes a much different relationship than most have with God. It inspires me to be more committed. To understand to be "one with God" as described in John 17 involves a much higher desire on my part. A desire compelling me to seek Him with ALL my heart.


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